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Gold starts the week higher ahead of Dutch elections, Fed meeting

CommoditiesMar 13, 2017 08:18
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© Reuters. Gold starts the week higher

Investing.com - Gold prices were higher during European morning hours on Monday, starting the week off with gains as investors turned their attention to elections in Europe, while preparing for a potential rate hike by the Federal Reserve this week.

Comex gold futures rose $8.15, or around 0.7%, to $1,209.55 a troy ounce by 4:10AM ET (08:10GMT).

It settled lower for the ninth session in a row on Friday, hitting its weakest since January 31 at $1,194.50 after solid U.S. employment data reinforced expectations of a Fed rate hike this week.

Meanwhile, spot gold was up $5.20 at $1,210.10 per ounce.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.3% at 101.06 in London morning trade.

It fell to a two-week low of 100.86 earlier amid disappointment that the latest U.S. employment report showed that U.S. wage growth remained tepid.

As the Fed meets in the coming week, there are other issues that will get the attention of markets. The Dutch election on Wednesday is being watched as a bellwether for the spread of populism in Europe, particularly ahead of next month's French election.

Opinion polls have suggested that Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders' right-wing Freedom Party, which wants to take the Netherlands out of the European Union and stop Muslim immigration, has lost its lead to more mainstream opponents.

But investors remained weary over the possibility of a Brexit or Trump-style shock result.

Meanwhile, the Fed is scheduled to conclude its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, with most market participants expecting the U.S. central bank to raise the fed funds target range by a quarter point, which would put it in a range between 0.75%-1%.

According to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, market expectations for a rate hike this week stood at 93%.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen's post-meeting press conference will be closely watched for clues on the pace of future rate hikes. Fed officials previously projected three rate hikes in 2017, but that might move up to four.

Besides the Fed, this week's calendar also features U.S. data on inflation, retail sales, building permits, housing starts, initial jobless claims, industrial production, consumer sentiment as well as surveys on manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia and New York regions.

Another event markets are watching is the expiration of the U.S. debt ceiling extension in the middle of the week, though the government has sufficient funding until sometime in the fall.

The White House, meanwhile, is expected to release its budget Thursday.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for May delivery jumped 21.9 cents, or around 1.3%, to $17.14 a troy ounce.

Meanwhile, platinum gained 1.1% to $948.90, while palladium added 1% to $752.52 an ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures tacked on 3.7 cents, or 1.4%, to $2.632 a pound.

Gold starts the week higher ahead of Dutch elections, Fed meeting
 

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